13 Aug

July a boom month for Montreal-area residential real estate sales

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Posted by: Frederic Pichette

The median price for a single family home in Montreal increased by six per cent to $336,250 in July

Residential real estate sales in the Montreal area rose in July by one per cent compared with the same period in 2017, reaching the highest level recorded in eight years for a month of July, the Greater Montreal Real Estate Board (GMREB) announced on Tuesday.

The board says that 3,201 transactions were completed in July, giving the local real estate market its 41st consecutive month of growth.

“After a strong start to the year, sales continue to increase in the Montreal area but at a slower pace. In fact, for the past three months, sales have only increased by one per cent,” Mathieu Cousineau, president of the GMREB board of directors, said in a communiqué.

Overall, three of the six regions of the metropolitan area saw their sales increase in July. Sales on the South Shore jumped 15 per cent compared with July of 2017. Vaudreuil-Soulanges and the Rive-Nord also saw increases of eight and three per cent respectively.

However sales on Montreal Island dropped by four per cent in July, the third consecutive month where sales slowed. Sales in St-Jean-sur-Richelieu also dropped by 24 per cent and Laval also recorded a seven per cent decrease.

July was also the 10th consecutive month where buyers showed a preference for condos, with sales in the Montreal region increasing by six per cent last month. Meanwhile, sales of two- to five-unit plex properties increased by two per cent and single family homes dropped by two per cent.

The GMREB price index, based on data supplied by Centris, increased overall by 5.7 per cent in the Montreal metropolitan region.

Median prices in Montreal in July:

  • single-family home: $336,250 (+6%)
  • condo: $265,000 (+5%)
  • plex properties: $528,500 (+9%)

The number of new sales listings dropped by five per cent compared with last year. Further, Centris reported 21,230 listings overall, 17 per cent less than in 2017. The drop in the number of listings has been continuing for nearly three years,

1 Aug

Real estate: Montreal is new hot spot for Chinese buyers

Latest News

Posted by: Frederic Pichette

Two factors make city attractive: “Its lack of foreign buyer taxes and its market growth story when other parts of Canada are slowing.”

Foreign buyers have become a kind of real estate industry bogeyman: widely feared, with an influence that many analysts say is more mythic than real.

According to the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation, the proportion of buyers from other countries remains too small to be the main driver of price increases. The number of foreign buyers in Greater Montreal is estimated at around two per cent, by CMHC’s reckoning.

However, while the numbers are small overall, it’s disingenuous to say there is no impact. There is no bogeyman, but there is something going on.

A recent report from a popular Chinese-language website for investors in international property, juwai.com, revealed its buyers are now more likely to ask for information on homes in Montreal than in Vancouver.

After new taxes on foreign buyers were introduced in Toronto and Vancouver in 2016, the number of inquiries on Juwai about properties in Montreal spiked by 85 per cent. During the same period, interest in Toronto and Vancouver properties declined, by 25 per cent and 18 per cent, respectively.

Juwai CEO Carrie Law said while some buyers from China are put off by the thought of doing business in a French-speaking province, the lower prices and lack of foreign buyer taxes are big incentives to look past the language barrier.

“Two things distinguish Montreal from other Canadian cities: its lack of foreign buyer taxes and its market growth story when other parts of Canada are slowing,” Law said.

But while Montreal is emerging as the new hot spot for Chinese buyers looking to invest in Canadian real estate, only a tiny percentage of those who are window-shopping for our real estate plan to come here to stay.

A survey of Juwai’s users found that while more than half of these potential buyers were looking to purchase property for their own use, fewer than two per cent of those considering homes in Montreal said they planned to immigrate. One-quarter were looking for investment properties, and 15 per cent said they were planning to buy property for themselves or family members to live in while attending school in Canada.

Realtors and analysts alike have noticed that Chinese buyers aren’t shopping everywhere in Montreal. They tend to buy in specific parts of the city, which — coincidentally or not — are also the areas with the most significant price increases and bidding wars in recent years.

According to realtor Sophie Ou, who specializes in working with Chinese-speaking clients, one of the reasons buying activity is so concentrated is that many buyers coming from China rely on recommendations on internet message boards or advice from family and friends who have already purchased Canadian real estate.

They often have as little as a week or two to shop for a home and make an offer before they have to fly back home, Ou said. Because the pool of homes for sale in preferred areas is limited, when they find a house they like, she said, they are motivated to bid aggressively to seal the deal.

“The price here compared to the price in certain cities in China is really very cheap. From my personal experience, for condos and new constructions, they will just buy with the price determined by the builder,” Ou said. ”Many of them don’t even come here, they just put down the down payment.”

In my next column on Wednesday, I’ll take a look at some of the reasons one particular West Island community has become a favourite place for buyers from China to invest in a home. Look for it in the West Island section.